5 Simple Ways To Avoid Overparenting
By MANSI ZAVERI
Are you the parent who hovers over or influences every decision your child makes? Are you the parent who micromanages their choices and decisions, lest they make any mistakes? Are you the parent who ensures their child succeeds at every step, small or big?
If you answered an emphatic yes to all the questions above, you might be convinced that you are a good parent and deserve a pat on the back. But technically, this fits in the description of what many are blissfully unaware of — a style known as “overparenting”. How do you find out if you are guilty of this?
I was reminded of Andre Agassi’s quote when I got a chance to interview him. He said, “the sign of good parenting is to raise kids to be independent and not need us at every step in their future.” A very insightful line that got me thinking. Are we guilty of raising children in a bubble-wrapped world?
Parenting is about providing a safe cocoon for them, inspiring them, and pointing them in the right direction. But over the years, there is an urge among parents to “do what’s best for their kids” and in that process, we have started fearing and avoiding failures — both for the kids, and for ourselves, as parents.
Be open to mistakes and consequences:
The parent needs more convincing here than the kids! Let them fail. Nothing teaches you better than mistakes themselves. Bruised knees are signs of a child who has played well and learned more in the process. Once they understand they are responsible for their consequences their actions take a different and more responsible turn.
Don’t over-sanitize kids:
Just like physical immunity, mental immunity also builds gradually and is something we need to work on as parents. Sanitizing every surface or opportunity for our kids is impractical, and not recommended too. Be there to catch them if they fall, and direct them if they feel lost, but don’t be there as the one who stops them from falling. Guide them and involve them in small chores at home, it is okay for kids to sweat it out a little, at home. They will learn so many valuable life skills this way.
Control impulse to blame:
Here is a common sight. When a child trips and falls, you will find an overprotective parent or grandparent, coddling the kid and hitting the floor hard, for tripping the child. As “caring” as that might seem, it teaches kids from a young age not to take responsibility for their actions and to transfer the blame. Avoid such practices right from the beginning and teach your kids to be more careful and not fall, rather than blame the floor (or anyone else).
It is okay to be vulnerable:
Yes, we want children to see that we are perfect in everything we do. But when they constantly see that, they don’t know what the other side of perfection looks like. As adults, when we make small errors, or if we consider something as our weakness, learn to accept it, in front of your kids, and tell them therefore you did it. This needs to be done, with discretion, of course, but when kids see that you are more human than the perfect image they have in mind, they learn more from watching you than anything else. Create and connect with your kids, in a more relatable way.
Don’t be the go-to problem solver:
In most houses, the moms take up the role of the 24*7 problem-solver. Sock missing? Mom knows where it is. Missed your lunch box at home? Mom rushes to school to hand it over to you. This must change, especially when the kids grow older. When my girls need help from me with their homework or assignment, I love to chip in, but I let them think for a while, before they come running to me for answers. Those few critical minutes where they strive to fight their own fires will go a long way in preparing them for the future. Let them face the consequences. Be there for them, but not for every small task or mistake they make. This way, they will never learn how to rise again.
Go ahead and tweak your parenting style, to ensure you do what’s best for your kids not just today, but in the long run too! Happy parenting! (IANS)